Bahrain’s most prominent Shia cleric has repudiated the country’s upcoming parliamentary polls, saying the ruling Al Khalifah regime has shut the door on free elections and political reforms in the tiny Persian Gulf Arab kingdom while trying to enslave the nation.
“The [Manama] regime slams the door in the face of any voter or democracy advocate and seeks to place the yoke of slavery on the nation,” Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim wrote in a post published on his Twitter page on Monday.
“The regime actively directs every Bahraini citizen to the path of slavery and vassalage. Isn’t there anyone who would fear God and sound the alarm on the situation of his homeland and compatriots?” the senior cleric added.
Last month, Bahrain’s main opposition group, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, called for a boycott of the upcoming parliamentary elections in the country, amid an escalation of political repression and absence of meaningful reforms.
In a statement released on September 14, Al-Wefaq described the boycott of November 12 polls as a national duty, emphasizing that the ruling Manama regime maintains absolute control over the electoral process and seeks to install a weak legislature, whose main task would be to burnish the image of the corrupt Al Khalifah dynasty and cover up its human rights abuses.
It added that the constitutional and political rift between the Bahraini regime and the nation is deepening day by day, the main reason for which, it said, is the lack of any social agreement between the two sides.
In the absence of a real administration, the Al Khalifah regime continues its authoritarian rule by imposing its political, economic, security and social wills on the Bahraini nation, Al-Wefaq said.
Moreover, Sheikh Qassim had in mid-July denounced the November 12 polls as “a new disaster and calamity” for Bahrain, stating that the elections will only reinforce the Al Khalifah dynasty’s reactionary and oppressive measures and jeopardize the interests of the Bahraini people.
He said in a statement at the time that the forthcoming legislative elections will exacerbate the sufferings of the Bahraini nation, consolidate the dictatorship of the ruling Manama regime, and broaden the hardship that people are experiencing.
Demonstrations have been held in Bahrain on a regular basis ever since a popular uprising began in mid-February 2011.
The participants demand that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
Manama, however, has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent.